Why Is My Eye Twitching Uncontrollably? 5 Icky Mysteries of the Human Body, Explained

Most of us spend nearly all of our waking hours preoccupied with basic physical functions like eating, drinking, and emotionally processing new episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardhasians. But our bodies are capable of some truly phenomenal physical feats — like running a marathon, creating a human being, or consuming an entire box of Taco Bell Doritos Locos tacos in one sitting. But just as our bodies are able to accomplish the occasional borderline-magical act, they are also prone to doing small, strange, slightly terrifying things that send us running straight into the sinister arms of that evil internet quack, WebMD. I'm talking about gross phenomenons like the eye twitch, the stomach flip, and teeth scraping.

Sure, sometimes a small thing is a sign that something bigger is going on and that you should see a doctor. But most of the time, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for a lot of the weird, icky stuff that your body pulls on you (and that explanation is not that you are going to drop dead within the next 45 minutes). So whether you're a dyed-in the-wool hypochondriac or just someone who once suffered from an extremely unnerving weeklong eye twitch, read on. (And stop thinking that you contracted a rare tropical disease from touching the elevator buttons in your office and then forgetting to wash your hands, OK?)

Butterflies In Your Stomach

What Appears To Be Happening: You feel like you are going to full-on barf while waiting to hear about a big work project / a big romantic prospect / while in line waiting for some nightmarish upside-down roller coaster that your friends peer-pressured you into going on.

What's Actually Happening: Though it certainly won't help you escape danger on the African savannah, a sour stomach is an unfortunate byproduct of the fight-or-flight response. Fear engages your adrenal gland, which releases adrenaline, increasing blood pressure and blood circulation in your muscles. More blood in your muscles means less in less fight-ready organs, like your stomach — which, when combined with some of the hormones released by this response, can make you ready to yak.

How Do I Stop This Crazy Crap?

Unfortunately, the only cure is relaxation. Our brains and stomachs are so closely connected, in fact, that 13 different studies reviewed by Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat blog all showed that psychological factors were a key element in healing more serious, longer-term stomach issues as well.

Try: Relaxation Templates for Meditation and Calming Adult Coloring Book, $6.99, Amazon

Twitchy Eyelid

What Appears To Be Happening: Your eyelid spasms slightly. If you look at it closely in the mirror for too long, you'll feel like you're watching a scene from the opening credits sequence of American Horror Story.

What's Actually Happening: There's no lost evolutionary function linked to the twitchy eyelid — it just seems to turn up for no good reason in times of extreme fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, or over-consumption of caffeine and/or booze.

How Do I Stop This Crazy Crap?

According to the venerable Mayo Clinic, there’s typically no serious cause behind the eye twitch, and also no real way to stop it. Luckily, it usually stops on its own, just as mysteriously as it began. So there's nothing to do but wait it out, slugger. (And maybe get some sleep.)

Scraping Your Teeth

What Appears To Be Happening: Scraping anything against your teeth — a fork, another tooth, a gold doubloon — will often provoke an intense physical reaction, making your nerves feel shot.

What's Actually Happening: Though no hero scientist seems to have actually taken this on as a research project, there are a few reasons to believe that our reaction to the sound/feeling is a kind of bodily defense mechanism. Just as our revulsion toward the sound of nails on a chalkboard is actually an evolutionary response designed to protect our ear canals from damaging sound frequencies, our revulsion toward our teeth being scraped could serve to protect us from tooth fractures, or other problems that arise from sustained grinding or scraping.

How Do I Stop This Crazy Crap?

If you're grinding your teeth, see your dentist. If you just scraped your tooth for a second, just wait.

Dry Mouth

What Appears To Be Happening: Your mouth and tongue have somehow achieved the exact texture of a dead moth, and you are wildly thirsty.

What's Actually Happening: Your salivary glands have temporarily stopped producing saliva. This is sometimes a symptom of a serious problem, but far more often, it's only linked to temporary stress.

How Do I Stop This Crazy Crap?

This one is the best, because there's an easy solution that doesn't involve trying to circumvent millennia of human evolutionary reactions — just drink some water.

Try: Basily Infuser Water Bottle, $8.95, Amazon

Feeling Like Something Is Caught In Your Throat

What Appears To Be Happening: Maybe you've swallowed something — a pill, a cracker, a stray Doritos Locos taco — and now it feels like it is stuck in your throat or chest, even though you know it is not there. Visions of Vada Sultenfuss from My Girl complaining about a similar ailment also often manifest as secondary symptoms.

What's Actually Happening: This feeling can cover everything, from a vocal-chord-based sickness like laryngitis, to developing acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, to simply getting certain pills stuck in the throat while swallowing because they went down the wrong pipe or you didn't drink enough water.

How Do I Stop This Crazy Crap?

If you think that you might have laryngitis or acid reflux, see a doctor. But if you simply had a rough time swallowing a pill or a piece of food, and then find that it feels like it’s still there, you can drink some more water, eat some food to help push it down, or try remaining upright for 30 minutes.

You can also feel confident in the fact that if Vada did not have a piece of chicken bone stuck in her throat, then neither do you. There are bigger fish to fry here.

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